A Complete Christmas Dinner Menu Full of the Fastest Recipes Around

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 21st, 2015

A Complete Christmas Dinner Menu Full of the Fastest Recipes AroundChristmas is only four days away, and if you’ve been tasked with hosting at the last minute, or if you’ve simply been procrastinating making a menu for the holiday dinner while you focus on gift shopping (and wrapping) and cookie baking (and eating) instead, you’re in luck. It’s not too late — even if your plan is to entertain on Christmas Eve. Below is a complete, at-the-ready menu of dishes that will take you and your party guests from bite-sized appetizers to a comforting first-course pasta to a meaty braciole, all the craveable side dishes and, of course, a sweet ending of chocolatey cookies. Best of all, each recipe can be ready in hurry — just 45 minutes or less.

Appetizers:
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The Basics of (Oversize) Stir-Frying — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 20th, 2015

After finishing up his judging duties for tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Jet Tila experienced life as a competitor during the After-Show when he was tasked with taking on a sabotage from the shrimp stir-fry test in Round 2. One particularly evilicious sabotage required one chef to cook with a tiny wok and chopsticks while the other was saddled with an oversize pair — and that’s what Jet was forced to contend with as well.

As he finagled with the extra-large chopsticks as he chopped his vegetables, the situation appeared to be somewhat under control. But that was quickly lost when he attempted to lift and pour his mise en place setup into the wok. After several dropped bowls, host Alton Brown couldn’t help but lend Jet a hand — by covering the camera lens so Jet could cheat the sabotage (or not) and manually add his ingredients to the wok without anyone noticing. “Go ahead and do whatever you need to do,” Alton told him, and sure enough, after just a few seconds, the camera returned to a full wok.

Even while Jet worked with this trick equipment, he and Alton were quick to dole out what it takes to make a classic stir-fry. After all, as the world record holder for the largest stir-fry ever made, Jet knows just how to execute it properly. “The wok should give a little smokiness to the dish,” he explained, and he and Alton noted the importance of the wok being steel. When it comes to accomplishing the right taste, Alton and Jet note that it’s best to deglaze the pan as the stir-fry comes together. “The deglazing is absolutely important because all of that fond that was stuck in there from the ginger, garlic and the shrimp has to come back in,” Jet said.

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Exclusive Interview with the Winner of Holiday Baking Championship, Season 2

by in Shows, December 20th, 2015

Holiday Baking Championship finalistsThis season on Holiday Baking Championship 10 bakers entered the competition to show off their creativity and skills for a chance to win $50,000. After eight weeks of baking everything from cookies to cakes, three bakers remained to face off in the finale: Steve, Maeve and Adalberto. But as is always the case, only one of them could walk away the Holiday Baking Champion and the winner of the grand prize.

Who baked the best holiday-themed cake in the finale? If you haven’t watched yet, then don’t read any further, as we’re chatting with the winner of the championship.

SPOILER ALERT: Get the Exclusive Interview

5 Must-Try Cups of Hot Cocoa Across the Country

by in Restaurants, December 20th, 2015

By Kiri Tannenbaum

Like many seemingly simple foods and drinks, hot chocolate has seen an upgrade. Pastry chefs and learned chocolatiers have carefully selected cacao beans from small farms around the equator, making these cups of cocoa mind-blowing, and addictive, masterpieces. Read more

Baking Advice from Cookbook Author Abby Dodge

by in Books, December 20th, 2015

Love of baked goods but fear of baking is a common kitchen story. If you’re one of those people who is intimidated by baking’s precision or thinks the exactness is boring, think again. Former pastry chef and cookbook author Abby Dodge believes there’s an inner baker in everyone. And she hopes to inspire people to break out the flour and turn on the oven with her newest book, The Everyday Baker (featured in our holiday cookbook gift guide).

Read our interview with Dodge below to find out which recipes she’ll be making this season, the kitchen tools she can’t live without and her biggest baking pet peeves. Plus, grab her recipe for Rosemary-Cornmeal Shortbread (pictured above), her go-to cookie for all occasions. Like all the other recipes in her book, it includes step-by-step photos and thorough twist ideas, so you can be confident in (and have fun with) your holiday cookies this year.

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Ina’s Parmesan Smashed Potatoes — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 20th, 2015

Parmesan Smashed PotatoesBeef, chicken, pork, seafood — no matter what main dish you’re cooking up, chances are you can round out the meal with the ultimate in family-friendly side dishes: the potato. Ina Garten dresses up the humble spud in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week with a few indulgent ingredients to turn out creamy, comforting smashed potatoes. Her secret ingredient? A bit of sour cream, which delivers welcome tang in this cheesy recipe, featured in Food Network Magazine.

For more crowd-pleasing recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Entertain board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Ina’s Parmesan Smashed Potatoes in Food Network Magazine

6 Ways to Save Money at the Supermarket This Holiday Season

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 20th, 2015

Potato-Bacon TorteHolidays mean family gatherings, gifts and meals together. And those things cost money. But the holidays shouldn’t be about overspending, so I leave you with my last post of 2015: six money-saving tips for the holidays.

1. Comparison-shop, even if you don’t usually think it’s worth it. Stores really go all out with “loss leaders” (advertised super-low prices on a few key items designed to get you in the door) during the holidays. Shopping at multiple stores may lead to your getting the absolutely bottom price, but you always have to balance the hidden costs (gas, time) of visiting multiple markets (which is why most of the year, it probably isn’t worth visiting three supermarkets). If you are hosting a big group for a holiday, spend a few minutes to compare stores’ flyers that come in the mail (or check online) to decide if an extra trip to another store is worth it. The larger the crowd, the more likely it is.

2. Buy gift cards — for yourself! Some major grocery stores promote their gift cards around the holidays with a bonus offer. For instance, you buy a $100 grocery store gift card and you get a $10 or $20 bonus card. Usually, the more you buy, the higher the bonus. Nothing is stopping you from using those gift cards to buy your groceries or holiday gifts, and using those bonus dollars yourself. Read more

“Water Tasting Menu” at Dublin Coffee Shop Aims to Educate

by in News, Restaurants, December 19th, 2015

Here’s one to file under “people will pay for anything.” A Dublin, Ireland, coffee shop is now offering its patrons a “water tasting menu.” For only 3.50 euros ($3.84 U.S.), customers at java hot spot 3fe can sample three “shots” of H2O.

“It’s four glasses of water, and 90 percent of people will see that the four glasses actually taste completely different,” the cafe’s proprietor, Colin Harmon, told the Irish Independent.

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Chefs’ Picks: Holiday Traditions

by in Restaurants, December 19th, 2015

LambChefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

No matter which holidays they celebrate, chefs tend to fete the season in delicious style. Whether they’re behind the stove or for once letting someone else tie on an apron, these pros (and their families) know how to put the “eatings” in “season’s greetings.”

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Farmer Lee Jones’ 11 Favorite Flavors of the Holiday Season

by in Holidays, In Season, December 19th, 2015

Fall RadishPerpetually clad in his trademark overalls, white shirt and a red bowtie, Farmer Lee Jones is the iconic figure of his family’s 300-acre sustainable farm in Huron, Ohio. He, his father, Bob Jones Sr., and his brother, Bob Jones Jr., lead the team at The Chef’s Garden in pioneering the sustainable agricultural movement. The farm grows the best-tasting and most-nutritious specialty vegetables, herbs and micro greens in the world. The family lives by a commitment to produce food that looks good, tastes good and is good for you. Hear from Farmer Lee below about what farm-fresh ingredients he craves during the holiday season.

By Farmer Lee Jones

Fall Radish (pictured above): This is mild, slightly peppery with some sweet notes.

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